And now we present THESE POSSIBLE FUTURES, from the album SUNSHINE UNDERPANTS.
Featuring Tory Valenzuela, Berchel Conchola, Jai Raja, Sarara, Aspen Krauss, and Tre Mitchell
Photography by Sean McIntosh and Becky Andress
Executive Producer Peter Rising
Directed by Hiri David Feign
A BWE Production
Jason Armstrong’s conversation with Hiri David Feign continues below. Read Part 1 HERE.
Congratulations David on your video. It’s hilarious.
Thanks Jason. I hope people will be amused by it. 🙂
How did you collect the cast and crew?
It ended up being mostly through Craig’s List, except for one friend I already knew. These people all came together and made it happen, and that’s an awesome feeling! I absolutely felt like Cinderella after the last night of shooting.
I’d love to be able to do either separately, but doing them both together was nerve-wracking for me, given how much we had invested in this. There’s just so much you can’t control. But I hope I can have an opportunity to do some more of both in the future.
And also I REALLY enjoy video editing. In some ways I feel like this whole album was done just so I could edit a music video lol. The song is intentionally made to feel like a kind of whirling amusement park ride, and I think I successfully realized that sensation with the editing. By the end with my hand disappearing into the pool, I really feel like as a viewer I’m about to puke lol. I think we need to get used to the fact that movies and series are gonna be like this very soon. Like, a whole epic film will be seven minutes long, sped-up from 4 hours, just spinning you around.
As I watched the video, it struck me that there was an element of Theater of the Absurd to it—standard narrative and structure is tossed aside to convey the fictive nature of reality, and, to a degree, the isolation of man. For instance, we see a man wearing virtual reality headgear, lost and groping. But at the same time, we also see the spectacle of the food fight. It’s as if you are saying that our possible futures will include a parallel mix of solitude and social interactions.
Thanks, I love that description. I wanted to make a ridiculous amusement for the masses, but I do plug into those ideas from dada and absurdist theater. It was fun doing something so over-the-top and ridiculous.
Social media and technology in general keep taking us further into the Closer Together/Further Apart dichotomy. We know more about each other, we’re connected through Twitter and Facebook and other means (BateWorld included) that allow us unprecedented options to share our voices and experience. But at the same time, we’re further separated from the actual real experience that happens in a physical interaction. It’s like we’re all drivers on the highway now, shielded from our humanity by anonymity and distance, yet interacting as if we and others are the cars, not the people inside them. I’m guilty of it just like everyone else. I yell things at people while I’m driving that I’d never say to them in line at the grocery store. Though, to be truthful, I can be pretty ugly there too lol.
So yes, those elements in the video are symbolic of that loss of physical, civil interactions while we become simultaneously more free and more isolated.
I’ve wanted to have a pie fight for a long time, and this gave me a great opportunity, with other food items added for good cheer. If I had just been able to act it would have been more fun shooting that. I can tell you that having candy sprinkles hurled at you by Aspen Krauss HURTS! She should consider a career in baseball.
I want to also say how awesome Jai and Sean were in cleaning up after the food fight. We were careful with the space, but it was still just awful to clean up. But after they were done, you’d never know anyone had been there. Spotless.
What’s the significance of the underpants?
One: I wanted to tie the music video into the theme of the album. Two: I wanted to mock the whole idea of hunky backup dancers and scantily clad female assistants. Those guys worked it.
How did you come up with the idea for the scene at the end, after the credits?
It was originally planned to be a sequence for the video itself, but Tory and Berchel were so hilarious that I just had to give them their moment. It’s a bit of an Easter egg, if people don’t stay past the credits. The kissing sounds just make me laugh hysterically. I really pumped that up for maximum absurdity. I imagine it might make a homophobe’s skin crawl. And we need more of that.
In the video there’s a product demonstration for a VR suit, which goes very badly, to say the least.
Yeah. It’s a satire of what I deal with as an electronics consumer. The products we’re promised are so rarely the wonders that they’re hyped to be. Instead of miraculous tech products that do it all for us, we’re stuck with awful products like Siri which function correctly maybe a third of the time, if that. It’s not just Apple though. It’s WordPress, it’s Gmail. I’m constantly at odds trying to work with this stuff.
We’re stuck with interface design that’s so precious it takes hours of getting it wrong to figure out how to use it correctly. Look at Gmail. It used to be that there was an intuitive interface where you could easily find what you wanted. Try finding the place to empty the cache in Chrome now. It’s buried under pages of other stuff. Why? Why do I even need to empty the cache myself in the first place, like it’s a diaper or something? As a consumer I’m reduced to being a custodian to my phone, spending way more time in the service of my device than should be necessary.
I know. It’s really frustrating.
For some reason, I don’t know why, in the past, when we envisioned the wonders of the future—when computers were in walls from wherein punch cards emerged with a “ding”—when we had those magnificent Worlds Fairs promising products beyond our wildest dreams which would free us from drudgery and the human condition—having to empty my computer’s diaper wasn’t something I was expecting. Why on Earth does my phone have to constantly be reminding me that it needs upgrading, cleaning up, cooling down, and on and on and on. I literally just installed an upgrade on my Android phone last week, and yesterday I got another one. I just want to use the damn thing for what I bought it for. Instead, I’m it’s fucking babysitter. It aggravates me to no end, because this is all unnecessary. Designers and coders could do better, but they don’t.
We’re stuck with design ideas that benefit the company and programmers over the actual needs of the customer. We’re their product, we’re participating in their ecosystem, instead of them being there for us. Why do I get messages on my Mac saying “You don’t have permission to perform that function”? Even the language is arrogant.
I just tried to play an album on one Apple device that I bought on another through iTunes, and I get a message saying “Authorization required.” But it doesn’t give you any method to perform that authorization, to inform you of how you can do it, or just automatically do it for you so you can get on with what you bought the music for: listening to it. With no options to resolve the situation, instead of enjoying the fucking album, I’m expected to spend my leisure time researching this stupidity. Even then, you have to wade through tonnes of outdated or irrelevant information. They’re not looking out for us. They don’t care. It’s so aggravating.
So I’m making a comment about the absurdity of low-rent ideas that we can’t escape—technologically, politically, culturally, and socially. Rather than creative, human-centric options that we could collectively be achieving together, leadership is almost constantly ensuring that we are stuck in drudgery and irrelevancies to the task at hand, and I’m more and more convinced it’s because, like other adults we know, they can’t stand not to be thought about. They demand our attention after they’ve sold their lie. Our services are designed to be grumpy children instead of intelligent, capable adults. If my car needed as much constant attention and upgrading as my smartphone, I’d find another car.
But there’s a more important reason that all this angers me. Shall I continue my rant?
The most egregious part of it for me is how poor these designers are at making the systems work for people outside their brand demographic. In my work with BateWorld, I’ve seen lots of problems for older customers, people with eyesight problems, people who don’t understand basic computer navigation. They aren’t part of the ecosystem being designed by Google, Apple, Microsoft, etc. All the various elements that make up a person’s ability to participate on the internet—their OS, their browser, their wifi, wireless mouse and keyboard—it all works (or, rather, doesn’t work) together to create a web of problems and complications that for some people makes them feel stupid or useless or intellectually challenged. It actively supports making you feel dumb, and that’s unconscionable.
Being able to be in charge of your access and navigation should not be so complicated. It keeps some people from doing more than the most mundane things online, if they can get there at all, because the hardware and software development on the market is so poorly hatched. Designers seem to be making the process more difficult than it needs to be. They upgrade commands to require MORE steps, not fewer, and then they call it streamlining. Many Apple products that had reached near-perfection have been redesigned to be utterly frustrating. It’s a way of engineering us as consumers. I literally think that part of their plan is just to train us like monkeys to be docile and give up our autonomy. It really, really bugs me.
So the video is my way of mocking this whole relationship that we have with tech design. Instead of being an ally, technology has become for me a constant nagging ubiquity. Our products have become bullies, and it’s the corporations who are to blame. They have a kind of position in our culture that deserves more ridicule and less of the Silicon Valley reward system, as far as I’m concerned.
Thank you. Rant finished.
As someone who’s responsible for site design on BateWorld and The BatorBlog, how do you deal with those questions yourself?
Well, honestly, I have designs for BateWorld that if completed would be much more advanced than what we’re kind of stuck with at the moment. We’re slowly getting there, and I have hopes that we can implement it all eventually, but honestly it’s frustrating how much awful and ungainly work comes from programmers (not our programmers—I mean those who create these platforms in the first place). There’s only so much we can do without platform and plugin designers who care to make things more efficient, and they just don’t, frankly. We’re stuck with an outdated site design that was absolutely necessary at the time we started with it. If we hadn’t, there would be no BateWorld now. We knew it would be difficult upgrading, but it’s been so much more difficult than I had hoped.
You have to remember that we get punished for being an adult site in many, many ways, and one of those is platform development and plugins. There are better options for video chat out there, but not if your site is all about dick. There’s a lot of corporate bias toward sexual expression, and I fear that it’s only getting worse. We pay significantly more to take Visa than a non-dick enterprise, for example. But my business partner Peter is especially determined and deals with this stuff constantly. He’s amazing and I’m very proud of what we’ve built together, along with our team, under his leadership. He loves doing this, and it’s solely because of his fortitude and resolve that BateWorld has grown into the site it is. I mean, I helped, but this tech stuff is really a soul killer sometimes. He can take it long after I’ve gone off into a fetal position lol. I hope one day I can write BateWorld: The Musical, so people might get a glimpse of what we deal with behind the scenes. It could be terrifying!
In terms of this blog, we’re fortunate that we have people who know how to modify the interface, but as an editor of the word and a former typesetter, it’s just shocking to me what few options are for those of us who don’t know HTML. I’ve studied HTML, I have a basic understanding of it, but I’ll never be able to program with it. That I can’t change the size of a font without assistance is just a mind-boggling absurdity. Like, what century do I live in? The type functions are abysmal. But I’ve gotten used to it. Again, see rant above, I’m angry because it creates a class system where programmers determine everything, and my options are limited by their lack of concern for even basic type functions that I can find in email.
But on a positive note, I’m fortunate to be working with Peter White as a Managing Editor and our Editorial Assistant and Tech-Guy Edward on the blog. The both do a great job so I want to give them a shout-out. It just amazes me that Peter R. and I started BateWorld as just two guys with a suitcase full of lube and a dream, and now we have three sites and all these people are part of it. With enough gumption and some luck, I think you can overcome the assholes, so to speak lol.
In the video, when you put on the virtual reality headgear, we get to see a bit of what you see. In your own possible future, what do you want to see when Virtual Reality is a true reality?
Dick. Lots of 3D dicks. Dick islands. Dick universes. Lots and lots of places where dick can run wild and free.
I’m excited about all the possible applications for VR. In some areas it’s already happening. A doctor operating on you remotely via VR goggles, if not already happening, may soon be an option. Training for medicine, mountain climbing, skydiving, those are probable applications that are starting to happen. VR offers so much opportunity for creativity and dynamics, and I’m anxious to see the way that artists, musicians, and filmmakers address it. Or the way it can be used for literary means. Imagine having the pages of a book surround you, like a maze you read your way through, being able to enter the illustrations and walk through them like in Mary Poppins. You could just go from painting to painting and live inside each one for awhile—cross the landscape, meet its characters, sing its songs.
These are some of the reasons I consider Walt Disney to be such a visionary. He instinctively understood the power of environments and evocative architecture. Once VR gets to be completely immersive, where you can feel, taste, and experience the environment with all your senses, you could build online theme parks, space stations, underwater hotels, that look and feel just as real as the physical ones. You could vacation online without ever leaving home. There could be an actual online Wakanda or Star Wars Galaxy environment available only through home VR. I’m really excited by that.
I do think that the clunky headgear we have now will be replaced soon by something else, but I don’t know what that might be. Probably just a pair of sunglasses or something for awhile. Eventually, there will definitely be something like in that Star Trek episode of Black Mirror, just a coin sized dot you place on your temple that connects directly into your brain. Or maybe contact lenses you operate with head motions and blinking.
When it gets to the point of actually being able to feel sexual sensation, have convincing touch sensors, and maybe even taste sensors, it’s gonna be wild. In my video, that’s what the suit does, it’s supposed to immerse you in every way. And then it traps you there.
I’d love to have it, and I’m sure that if someone designs a decent affordable plugin we’d offer it, but there are no options currently. However, I’m learning to model in 3D and I definitely want to create some hot bator environments. I just need to see how complicated it will be. Right now, I’m only at the lighting-a-cube stage. If I get something finished, you’ll be the first to know.
In terms of what I would like to achieve as an artist as well as a designer for BateWorld, I’d especially like to make some immersive VR music videos, some explicit ones and some mainstream ones. I think I said before that right now I’m trying to create a legacy for BateWorld and, separately, for myself as an artist. When it’s my time to go, I want to have left things that will document this moment in time, this sexual and technical revolution. And if the tech gods allow, to leave behind things that will continue to grow digitally. Virtual environments have the possibility to achieve that, but it’s ambitious at this point to promise anything.
I think it’s absolutely clear that what will dominate innovation in the VR industry is porn and gaming. VR is already a big thing in the adult industry. There are other inventions that add to the experience, too—machines to stimulate your cock in time to the images on screen, even those devices you put in your ass when someone sends a tip on Chaturbate. It’s quickly moving toward full-body stimulation options. Then, watch out reality, you’ll have a fierce competitor.
I’ve noticed you have an affinity for water. In your previous video SEXUAL INTELLECTUAL you’re submerged, and here we see you singing in a wading pool. What does the element of water mean to you thematically or metaphorically?
I’m definitely a water child. Water is very sensual. Being surrounded by water, floating naked or swimming underwater, is so magical for me. It’s like being in a different world. Maybe it’s a Freudian thing, but for me it’s very much like getting in touch with our origins in the sea. I think I just feel a connection that goes back millions of years. I AM Henry Limpet!
But water’s got symbolic meaning too, and in this video it’s about humiliation and finding your power. First, humiliation: Being dunked in water while fully dressed is a humiliating act. I can tell you it’s uncomfortable! It’s the same with the food fight. Even, for me, shaving my hair and beard was an act of humility, facing the fears of not looking pretty. I wanted to put myself through these things as an artist, deal with my body as a medium for fortitude.
But the main thing was the imagery, to counter the normal Rock Star image of being invulnerable. It goes back to that New Wave attitude again, a time when I worked at a performance space in San Francisco when I was 21. Humiliation was a big part of the original Body Art movement. Joseph Beuys and those people. Taking on sin, immersing oneself in shameful acts. Those kind of ideas.
Second: finding your power. That’s maybe what is the real message here, just forging ahead against opposition and knowing who you are. That was my intention with the video, and I achieved it, so that message is real for me. The character there finds power through exiting into a VR version of reality. Whether that’s good or bad, I don’t know.
Anyway, visually, I just really liked the idea of how the splashing would add to the dynamics of the video, and I thought it was a unique, funny way to perform. It’s much harder than you’d think, to do the Rock Star thing with your feet in water.
Can we expect new videos coming down the pike featuring other songs from SUNSHINE UNDERPANTS?
I don’t want to give away too much, but yes, I hope so. I’m working on a video that I think will be quite interesting. Whether it’s completable and economically feasible isn’t apparent yet. I’m really anxious to get on to the next group of projects, though—my own and BateWorld projects. I have the next album about halfway completed, and I’ve started to work on some video production inquiries for that.
I’m also writing a script for a short horror comedy film that I’m REALLY wanting to do. Hopefully there will be some momentum from SUNSHINE UNDERPANTS and the video, but I’m not counting on it. I’ve learned to just do what I think is best and not worry about what people think. It may sound like a lot to take on, but this is how I’ve always been as an artist. 🙂
Meanwhile, I’m writing for and editing The BatorBlog and promotional work for BateWorld. I’d like to do a live performance at a bator space, so contact me if you’re someone who can do something about that.
I also have a video series for BateWorld’s YouTube channel that I’m excited about. We’ll profile men who describe what being a bator means to them. Anybody who’s interested can contact us at [email protected]
One last question: I’m curious about your name Hiri David Feign. It’s a pseudonym, right?
What’s up with that?
Well, Hiri is actually a made-up word. It’s not a name, it’s a title, like Mr. There’s a post about it on my site HERE.
I had a kind of algorithm in mind for several things I wanted to achieve with a pseudonym. First, it had to have five syllables. Second, I wanted to retain being David. Third, the first name had to be something I made up. Fourth, the last name had to be selected from a random name generator.
So I ran the generator a bunch of times. I compiled a list of names I liked, and then selected Feign. It has a silent letter, which I like because it’s phonetically invisible, and feigning something implies a suspect action, or slight of hand. Most people want to be believed. I want to be suspect to everyone lol. It helps having a kind of persona, but being open about it. We shall see if over time there’s a character arc for Hiri David Feign.
Ok, I’m out of questions. Have you anything else to add?
Oh, I think we’ve covered it all. Just send me a dick pic and we’re done here lol.
Here ya go.
Oh my sweet lord yes.
Thanks dude. I appreciate all your thoughtful questions. And thanks to anyone who’s still reading. Let me know what you think of the video. Tell all your friends and bate buddies. 🙂 And please also check out HiriDavidFeign.com, and follow me if you want to get notices about updates. I’ll be sharing some of my comics and artwork there regularly, though not necessarily frequently.
Thanks Jason. You rock!
Thanks David. I’m waving my cock at you right now.
Ha! Right back at ya!
DOWNLOAD SUNSHINE UNDERPANTS HERE.